Author's Note. Sorry this is so short. It seemed more organic being 5 chapters, and this way I get to piss you all off with a cliffhanger. Forgive me.

Chapter Four

The next morning Artemis lay in her bed back in her apartment trying to deny her smile. She was angry, angry that she did not feel more guilt. Doug had treated her well, their relationship had been solid. She cared for him deeply and loved spending time with him, but she did not love him. She would not allow that particular emotion to find a home in her again. They had never spoken about exclusivity, but it was always implied. Doug traveled with his work about as often as she did, and if he did have another woman on the side, she doubted that this person could be nearly the perfect match he and the archer were. This act with Wally was a onetime thing; she just prayed the speedster saw it that way.

She was not looking forward to seeing Wally again. He always had a tendency to overanalyze things, he was a scientist after all, but she was not as disappointed with as him as much as she was disgusted with herself. She and Wally had found a strong middle ground, a chance for a new beginning, a friendship they had never had before, and now she jeopardized it by a reckless dangerous act. But if it was so wrong, why was she so happy?

She returned to the office the next day with no sign of the speedster. She found a reason to be all the way across the building three times near his section without ever catching sight of him. Finally she found a lab tech that told her that Wally and Tim had been called to Washington to analyze an attack at the STAR labs facility similar to one at Wayne Enterprises. They would be gone for at least two days. While she outwardly felt relief, inwardly disappointment crept in.

On Friday Dick called a senior staff meeting to be held in main conference room. Projected on the large wall screen was a sample of the virus they were dealing with, as well as a motion graphic showing step by step what the virus did and could do. Tim presented the information to the staff while Wally stood in the back ready to assist if needed. Artemis and Conner sat side by side notating the video, while Wally stood off behind him. Artemis never used her laptop for dictation, preferring to write information down in her particular version of short hand and transferring it later. She had not realized her screen saver had kicked on until a light snicker only she recognized came from behind her. She glanced down and discovered the windsurfing vacation pictures in Australia she and Doug took months ago were currently on display. She glanced back and saw the grinning speedster trying to look away, knowing he had been caught, but enjoying the archer's discomfort.

She closed the lid of the laptop, and mock frowned at the red head. Silently she mouthed the words "Nosey much?"

to his blushing face.

He returned serve by mouthing, "Could you not find a smaller bikini?" teasing the archer about her very revealing swimwear.

"Wouldn't you like to know," she once again mouthed back with a smile.

Wally just rolled his eyes in good natured way, when he finally realized Tim had been calling his name to provide his part of the presentation. The blushing speedster apologized while Artemis closed her eyes trying to stop herself from laughing out loud. She composed herself and looked back at the presentation catching the stare of one Megan Morse smiling back at her. She had seen the entire exchange and Artemis scowled at her trying to scare her off, but Megan was not dissuaded. Artemis looked away no longer caring and focused on the presentation, but both women knew what she was doing. She was flirting with her ex, and she was enjoying it. Damn it she inwardly cursed wondering if it was for the act or getting caught.

Later that day Wally knocked on her office door bringing the latest updates on the virus and where they were in the process of dismantling it. She was nervous when he closed the door behind him, but was surprised to find he was all business, pleasant, friendly even, but still staying on point.

"I really think we're close to breaking this, but one more sample would really help if you guys can find one."

"I'll see what I can do."


There was a trace if awkwardness in the room as he gathered his papers and stood at the other end of her desk. He wanted to say something, she recognized the expression from years of living with him, but he hesitated before exclaiming. "You look nice today. Red is a good color on you."

"Thanks?" she answered in more of a question than a reply.

Wally walked towards the door when he heard her say, "About the other night..."

Wally turned and smiled. "Nothing happened Artemis, and if it had it was just two friends getting a little closure."

His tone was not mean, not short, just kind. She knew what he was doing and she appreciated it.

"Thanks," she smiled. "I'm sorry if..."

"Artemis there is nothing to be sorry about. It will go with me to my grave. No Dick, definitely no Canary since you know she can't keep a secret. I meant what I said; I'm not here to screw up your life ok? I'm no hurt puppy and I will not follow you around acting like one. Nothing is going to change, I promise."

She smiled and got up and hugged him. "Ok," she whispered.

She pulled away but he didn't let go. "It was really nice .Thanks."

"Thank you, you haven't lost a step."

Wally took a deep breath seeing where this could be heading, blushing he grabbed his papers and walked out. "See ya boss."

"Get back to work drone," she giggled and shut the door.

Things began to slow down at Wayne Tech, the attacks had begun to subside and even though Tim and Wally had not broken the program, they had enough information to create a sturdier firewall to keep out similar intrusions for the time being. Dick had tried to break it himself, and was satisfied with the results. If Nightwing couldn't get in, very few in the world could.

Artemis and Doug finally took that vacation to the Rockies, and the two adrenaline junkies made the most of every second of it. A certain monthly visitor had come to Artemis, and she was extremely thankful that sex would not be part of the equation during their time together. She had too many conflicted feelings and did not want intimacy to get in the way.

The entire staff had been putting in nightmarish hours, and no amount of overtime pay would be able to properly compensate them. Bruce Wayne had lent his private jets to send the exhausted covert team members to restful destinations. Conner, Megan, and Kaldur went to the islands to recharge, while Artemis used the other to head to Colorado. Flying on a private jet was very impressive to her boyfriend, but fancy things and expensive gifts never impressed the archer much.

Wally and Tim refused to take the break. They were too close, and if they wouldn't go, neither would Dick. Tim was like his little brother, while Wally was his closest friend. He would not abandon them. There would be time for the three of them to find some R&R later completely at his expense.

Wally was face down on his desk, snoring loudly as Tim eyes drifted open and closed. The computers had been programmed to analyze ever byte of data, and it would take hours to complete. When the lab alarms went off Tim was the first to react, Wally continuing to droll all over his keyboard.

"Wally...Wally wake up. WALLY!"

The speedster popped his head up, the indentions of the key strokes fresh on his face. He ran back to Tim's monitor and stared in amazement.

"Holy shit! Wally we did it!" Tim laughed, giddy from either the excitement or exhaustion, probably both.

Wally wrapped his arm around his lab partner and congratulated him.

On the screen the round sphere of tightly entwined numbers broke apart, and lined up in perfectly readable sequences.

Tim entered a few keystrokes and the code disappeared into the Wayne mainframe searching out copies or traces of the virus embedded in all corners of the system. A few more strokes and Tim initiated a trace looking for the infection source. He and Wally didn't wait long for the results to come back and their smiles and excitement fell off their faces.

"Oh no..." Wally exclaimed. "Damn it! Run it again Tim." He demanded though they both knew the results would be the same.